Why I Run

Many have asked me why I run. Or, they say “you’re a big guy, how can you run?”

I don’t enjoy the pain. I certainly don’t enjoy cold dark mornings. I would much rather remain cozy under the covers.

Running is not easy. Running is hard. I started running by walking, and adding in some running steps. Over time, the walking steps decreased and the running steps increased.

Over a one-week period, I will run 3 times – usually 10 kms on Tuesdays and Thursdays and then a longer run on Saturday or Sunday, whichever day has nicer weather. Yes, I am a fair weather runner. I hate the freezing cold even though I do it when I have to. The other days, I will do some other form of exercise with one-day off.

My other forms of exercise are weight training to strengthen my upper body and lower back, push ups, burpies (which I hate the most) and isometric exercises like planks and even yoga – all intended to help me strengthen my ability to hold my upper body upright for longer and longer distances. But, running has always been my preferred choice of exercise and all other forms of exercise are intended to compliment and further my running ability.

So, why do I run?

Like most people, I want to carve out time in my day that is just for me. No distractions. No cell phone or email message beeps. No abrupt interruptions from co-workers asking “you got a minute?”  Of course I have a minute. We all have minutes that are eaten up by daily rituals of doing something for others – all day long – and now – right now – as I run – there is no cell phone – no interruptions whatsoever.

As I run, I tune into my energy level, my posture, my breathing, my joints, my muscles, and my hydration and nutrition. As I run, I focus on all these aspects and I strive to create harmony between them – a balance between wanting to finish and finish well.

Health is a consequence of my running and running is a consequence of my health. Without one, you can’t have the other. Running helps control my weight and drives me to remain focused on good nutrition.

I feel rather naughty telling you that I get a “high” from running. All runners know exactly what I mean. You run the first little part and struggle as you get your pace and breathing under control and work out the kinks in your muscles until you get to the point when you feel unstoppable and free. Like you can go on forever. When you wish it did not have to end. It’s called the “runners high” and results from your body releasing a magical mysterious drug that can never be regulated or outlawed from the Olympics – Endorphins!

A google search tells us that:

Endorphins are among the brain chemicals known as neurotransmitters, which function to transmit electrical signals within the nervous system. … Endorphins interact with the opiate receptors in the brain to reduce our perception of pain and act similarly to drugs such as morphine and codeine.

Wow! Our body is so amazing that it can alleviate pain naturally and it’s free!

Running is the satisfaction of knowing that “I did it”. That I ran the distance and ran it well. That I challenged myself and my limits. That I took my body on a journey and came out the other end feeling exhausted and elated at the same time.

Running is my peace. In the truest sense, running is “my time”. It is pure and simple. For that 1 or 2 or 3 hours, you will not get my attention. My mind does not care for the latest news blast, weather report or the latest political gaff – I just don’t care. I let myself go into a solitude existence – deep in my thoughts. The only thing I am concentrating on is my breath and every fibre in my body as my feet rush beneath me. I feel the wind on my face. I see people and cars and hear noise all around me but in some strange way, there is no noise and all that I see is a blur. So, don’t honk or waive at me. I will not hear you. I will not see you.

Some say this is selfish of me. And I ask “what is wrong with being selfish for the right reason”? To clear my head. To focus and put things into perspective. To re-connect with my breath and body. To re-energize my soul. What is wrong with all of this?

If I am not clear headed, focused or fresh in my mind, then how can I be as positively engaged with my clients, my co-workers and, most importantly, with those I love?

So don’t ask me why I run, just come run with me!